Cyber criminals targeting smart phones

Cyber criminals have long centered on running their swindles on PC users. And they’ve been extremely successful in stealing sensitive information and stealing funds from countless computer users. Now these cyber criminals are unleashing their malware attacks on smart phones, tapping into yet another huge potential market of naive users. This will come as a big surprise to nobody. Smart phones are growing in popularity. And plenty of users treat their mobile devices as miniature computers. They surf the Web, send e-mail messages and bank online using smart phones. Fortunately, it is easy to do something to defend against mobile malware. It mostly requires that you employ good judgment when navigating the online world using your smart phone.

Scary Numbers

The security firm F-Secure offers rather frightening numbers: According to the firm, the volume of malware attacks directed at mobile Android devices quadrupled from the first quarter of 2011 to the same quarter in 2012. That’s just one of the many unsettling statistics regarding mobile malware. CNN Money writer David Goldman, for example, recently cited a study from security firm Lookout Security that four in 10 smart phone users will click or swipe a suspicious Web Link this year. Goldman also writes that smart phone cyber attacks have spiked by a factor of six, according to statistics released from anti-virus company McAfee.

The Good News

These numbers shouldn’t cause smartphone users to toss their devices in the river. Regardless of the increase in mobile malware, cyber criminals are still focusing mainly on PCs. For one reason, it’s easier. Developers have learned from their past mistakes, and have made it a lot more difficult for cyber criminals to take over smartphones and other mobile devices. On top of that, these criminals are so successful in targeting PC users, they have little financial incentive to focus on mobile devices. Consumers, though, shouldn’t rely on this for much longer, Goldman writes. As smart phones continue to increase in popularity, they will experience a greater number, and variety, of malware attacks.

Protect Yourself

You can safeguard your phone from mobile malware attacks. Start by downloading anti-virus software from reputable companies. Be careful, though–cyber criminals could create bogus anti-virus software that won’t protect your phone but rather sends these criminals your personal information. Also, be sure to research any app before you download it. You need to make sure that it is provided by a reputable company. Finally, be equally cautious about phishing schemes as you would be while sitting in front of your PC. Never provide your Social Security Number, checking account numbers or other important information in an e-mail. Your bank will not ask for such numbers in e-mail.

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